July 2, 2018
At the recently concluded 65th Meeting of the OECS Authority, the matter of LIAT was raised in the Caucus session with the Prime Minister of Barbados. As on all occasions when LIAT has been discussed, the consistent concern of those Governments that are not currently shareholders of LIAT has been the need to ensure the financial sustainability of the airline. The Government of the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis has been insistent that any participation in LIAT must involve measures that will guarantee the sustainability and profitability of the airline.
The recorded decision of the 65th Meeting of the OECS Authority in caucus with the Prime Minister of Barbados is the following:
- All Governments present recognized and accepted the importance of LIAT as a public good that is essential to the free movement of people not only in the OECS but the wider Caribbean
- All Governments agreed that it was necessary to take a frank and hard look at the current situation facing LIAT and agreed to convene at the earliest opportunity a meeting of all stakeholders and shareholders to examine the way forward for LIAT
- All Governments present agreed that a new appropriate business model needed to be developed that could be presented in a draft shareholder agreement involving Barbados, the current shareholders and other interested parties.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis looks forward to the convening of this meeting to discuss the way forward for LIAT and the next step thereafter.
It is believed that should those discussions be fruitful they would inform further discussions on a new shareholding agreement involving Barbados and interested parties in the OECS.
St. Kitts and Nevis, under Team Unity, has always conducted the affairs of the country with prudence; hence, we have been able to pay off the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indebtedness which we inherited from the former regime, reach satisfactory arrangements to settle the energy debt left behind by the former administration and put the country on track to become the first independent state within the OECS to achieve a debt to GDP ratio of 60% way in advance of the target year of 2030 established by the Monetary Council of the ECCU. It is in this spirit of financial rectitude and in recognition of the importance of LIAT to all of us that we have agreed to participate in the dialogue that we hope will lead to a lasting and sustainable solution.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis are very satisfied that Prime Minister Harris and his team have managed the country very well. It has reduced or eliminated VAT on food and educational supplies, and has returned excellent surpluses on recurrent, overall and primary accounts.